In a bid to promote clean energy generation, the state government has decided to do away with the cap on installation of rooftop solar power plant at 50 per cent of sanctioned load. Earlier policy had capped the solar installation at half the sanctioned load — meaning those with 5 kW sanctioned load could maximum install solar power plant with capacity of 2.5 kW. In plain terms, even single phase electricity meter households can now install solar power panels if they have sufficient space. It is noteworthy that Gujarat was the first state in the country in 2009 to come up with solar power policy with targets and implementation mechanism.
The state announced rooftop solar plant policy in August 2015 but it did not evince enough public interest due to the cap. Sources said the latest policy has been announced to address this drawback. Early adopters of solar roof top system welcomed the move of the government. Anil Patel, a college professor by profession and science enthusiast who has installed solar roof top system for over two years, said, “Now, use of roof top solar power generation will become popular, as even single phase meter owners would also be able to install solar panels if they have enough space. Earlier, restrictions prevented those with smaller load from going for solar power.”
Rajni Patel, a resident of Thaltej, commented, “I was planning to install panel on my rooftop as I have enough space for panels to run the entire household on clean energy. The latest policy makes it even better for me. I can be independent consumer generating and using my own energy.” The policy does not make any change in the government subsidy given for installation of solar power system. Currently, government pays Rs 10,000 for 1kW and Rs 20,000 for 2kW or more of solar power plants. On top of the state government’s subsidy, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides 30 percent subsidy on the cost of installation. The state government has also created benchmark rates for installing 1kW power: each kW of system should not cost more than Rs 69,000 and subsidy is considered on the basis of the same.
Why go solar?
A 1kW solar power generation system can generate 120-175 units per month provided efficient panels are used. A combination of energy efficient appliances and light bulbs can help an average household to reduce electricity bills by about 40 per cent. Modern solar panels and a bigger system can even generate power than can run a single AC unit but cost involved is much higher than most household solar power systems. Solar systems also make for smart investment. They require little maintenance, are sturdy, don’t wear out and can last up to 20 to 25 years.